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Lease Is Up for 'Wild West' Star


Actor and director KENNETH BRANAGH, who stars in Woody Allen's upcoming movie "Celebrity," is just finishing up a six-month lease of a home in Bel-Air, where he has been living while filming "The Wild Wild West," co-starring Will Smith and Kevin Kline.

Branagh, 37, plays the villainous Dr. Arliss Loveless in the movie version of the popular TV series "The Wild Wild West." The movie is due out next summer. "Celebrity," co-starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Winona Ryder, will open in theaters nationwide this month. Branagh also stars in John Grisham's "The Gingerbread Man," which opened in July.

A leading figure in the British film industry, Branagh played Iago to Laurence Fishburne's "Othello" (1995) and starred in "Hamlet" (1996), for which he won the first writing Oscar nomination for a film based on a work by Shakespeare. In October, he announced plans to adapt, direct and star in a series of films based on the works of Shakespeare.

He leased a country-style home with three bedrooms and a gym in about 4,500 square feet. The home also has a pool and is on a golf course. The recently renovated home was leased at $10,000 a month.

Branagh was married to actress and director Emma Thompson from 1989 to 1995. He has been linked romantically since then with actress Helena Bonham Carter, with whom he co-stars in "Theory of Flight," which is scheduled to be released on Christmas Day.


The longtime Westlake Village home of actor ROBERT YOUNG, who died in July at 91, has come on the market at $850,000.

Young, who starred in the TV series "Father Knows Best" and "Marcus Welby, M.D.," retired from his film and TV career in 1988 at 81. His career spanned more than six decades. He was a leading man in movies of the '30s and '40s before turning to radio and then to TV in "Father Knows Best" (1954-1963), followed by "Marcus Welby" (1969-1976).

His wife, Betty, died in 1994. They had four daughters and were married for more than 60 years.

The Youngs called their home "The Enchanted Cottage" in honor of the 1945 movie of the same name, in which the actor starred. The Youngs built their house in 1974. It has four bedrooms in about 3,500 square feet and a yard with a pool house, pool, spa, bar and valley views. The actor chose the lot and helped design the house to take advantage of the views.

The couple also owned an adjacent lot, which they had purchased to ensure their privacy. It is expected to be sold later.

Jay Belson and Tom Otero of Re/Max on the Boulevard, Sherman Oaks, share the listing on the Youngs' home.


Falcon Lair, the Benedict Canyon home built in 1924 for actor RUDOLPH VALENTINO and owned most recently by the late tobacco heiress DORIS DUKE, has been sold to a Florida architect who plans to restore the 13-room house on a four-acre promontory overlooking Beverly Hills.

The buyer will maintain his Florida residence as well as Falcon Lair, which he bought for just under $3 million.

The buyer plans to spend $1 million in refurbishing the Spanish-style house and expanding the master bedroom, said selling agent Keith Cox of Coldwell Banker-Jon Douglas Co., Beverly Hills. Duke, who died at 80 in 1993, owned Falcon Lair for 40 years.

She bought it from wine critic Robert Balzer after a mutual friend, actress Gloria Swanson, invited Duke to the house. Balzer was the last in a succession of owners between Duke and Valentino, who died at 31 in 1926.

The 4,700-square-foot house still has "Falcon Lair" etched on its front gate by Valentino and, as in his time, the house still has painted stucco walls and a library-music room. It also has staff quarters, a guest apartment and city-to-ocean views.

Duke, a collector of art and antiques, installed Napoleon Bonaparte's original war room at Falcon Lair, said Jeff Hyland, who represented Duke's estate in selling the home with Rick Hilton, both of Hilton & Hyland, Beverly Hills.

Falcon Lair was part of her $1.2-billion estate, which will be administered by her foundation as one of the country's largest charitable organizations.


The Beverly Hills home of the late theater impresario STAN SEIDEN and his wife, Rivka, has been listed at $1.85 million. Seiden was president of Nederlander Cos. West from 1975 until a few months ago. He died at age 76 in September.

Seiden had been called the dean of the local commercial theater presenters, because Nederlander handles bookings at the Pantages, Wilshire and Henry Fonda theaters as well as events at other venues.

The Seidens owned the home for about 14 years. The 4,000-square-foot-plus home has four bedrooms plus maid's quarters, a guest house and a pool.

Leah and Tom Steuer of Coldwell Banker-Jon Douglas Co., Beverly Hills, have the listing.


Despite worries on Wall Street, New York City's high-end residential real estate market is still hot, thanks--at one project--to some young buyers in the entertainment industry.

In the up-and-coming neighborhood of NoLita (north of Little Italy) in SoHo, eight condos in a 21-unit loft conversion of a chocolate factory have been sold at an average price of $2.6 million, and the buyers are an average age of 33.

The buyers include an actor, a producer, a writer, a record company executive and a couple of rock stars, said Eric Hadar, president of Allied Partners, owner-developer of the conversion, to be completed in the spring.

Asking prices of the 21 two- to five-bedroom 1,800- to 4,060-square-foot units range from $1.4 million to $4.2 million, said Helene Luchnick of Douglas Elliman, who is handling sales.

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